A disappointing afternoon saw Leverstock Green exit the Buildbase FA Vase at the first hurdle with a 2-0 defeat at fellow SSML Premier Division side Leighton Town. The scoreline could have been a lot worse for the Leverstock side were it not for their young goalkeeper Caolan Doyle-Creamer, who made a series of outstanding saves during the game.
Two more new signings were in the line-up today, with forwards Matt Bateman and Chris Golding having joined from Kings Langley during the week, and under-18 player Scott Burge was on the bench having signed first team forms.
There was a worrying moment for the Green side just five minutes into the game when skipper Shane Wood went down after a clash of heads and appeared to be unconscious, but happily Wood had no need for the stretcher that was brought out and was able to continue playing. There was an early moment of promise for Leverstock when a cross from Ross Adams found Bateman, but his header went over the bar in the 8th minute. Four minutes later Leighton took a 1-0 lead in the simplest of fashions as James Hatch rose unchallenged to head home from a corner.
It could have been 2-0 in the 17th minute as Alex O’Brien hit a stinging volley, but Doyle-Creamer pulled off the first of his great saves to tip it over the bar. Leverstock were creating little, and should have made more of a superb corner delivery from Mason Tunbridge in the 23rd minute which went right through the six yard box but found nobody on the end of it.
For the remainder of the half Leighton were well on top, hitting a succession of shots at the Green goal and winning a series of corners. They were denied again in the 39th minute as Doyle-Creamer pulled off a point-blank save from O’Brien, and a follow-up effort was cleared off the line by Liam McCrohan. Two minutes before the break they had another shot blocked on the line and hit the post from a follow-up shot.
Leighton should have had more than one goal to show for their first half dominance, but it only took them four minutes of the second half to add a second goal. As a cross came in from the left, Matt Hall was the closest to the ball, but the touch that put the ball into the net came from a Leverstock defender.
Two minutes later they almost had another as Lewis McBride was clean through, but Doyle-Creamer stood his ground and smothered the shot. Soon after Scott Burge came off the bench to become the third 16-year old on the pitch for Leverstock. There was another chance for the Green in the 54th minute when a cross from Tunbridge was cleared but only to Brima Johnson, who hit his shot wide. Four minutes later Chris Marsh curled a shot just over the bar following a short corner. Tunbridge went close on 62 minutes as he ran into the box and hit a shot across goal and inches wide of the far post.
Inbetween the Leverstock chances there were a number of chances created by the Leighton side, who were cutting through the Green defence too easily with short passes.It was only the efforts of Wood and Doyle-Creamer that kept their side in the game, with the latter pulling off several more saves from close range, the best of them from O’Brien in the 71st minute.
As the game moved into the closing minutes the likelihood of a Leverstock revival became less and less, and Leighton fully deserved their comfortable progress into the next round.
Leverstock have more cup action coming up on Tuesday night, with a visit to Hoddesdon Town in the second round of the Challenge Trophy.
There was another three points for in-form Leverstock Green on Tuesday night, as they travelled to Leighton Town and came away with an excellent 3-0 win.
The home side enjoyed most of the early possession, but it was Leverstock who took the lead with a swift counter-attack in the 12th minute. Ross Adams lofted a pass from his own half which allowed Curtis Donaldson to beat the offside trap and run clean through to slot past Jack Sillitoe in the Leighton goal.
It could have been 2-0 in the 25th minute when Leighton gave the ball away in their own half and Lewis Davis threaded a pass through to Jonathan Lacey, but his shot went across goal and just wide. Three minutes later Leighton had two chances in quick succession when former Green player Luke Marsh shot just over the bar, and Lewis McBride hit a shot which beat Mark Berg but hit the post. There was another good chance for Leverstock on 35 minutes when Davis robbed defender Hateley Mercer and ran on to take the ball past Sillitoe, but couldn’t quite squeeze the ball in from a narrow angle. In the last minute of the half McBride had another shot just over the bar for Leighton, and at the other end Lacey also shot over the bar from Donaldson’ pass.
The second half saw fewer chances for both sides in the early stages. On 61 minutes Leighton’s Martin Griggs had a run at goal and shot just wide.The closest that Leighton came to an equaliser was in the 79th minute when a shot came back off the post and McBride looked set to score from the rebound, but Berg made a great recovery to save.
That proved crucial as Leverstock cemented their win with two quick goals in the last ten minutes. In the 82nd minute Tremayne Charles showed great persistence in the box as he won the ball in the box, and eventually found his way through a couple of defenders to shoot home the second goal from six yards out. Two minutes later Charles was instrumental in setting up the third goal with a mazy run down the left wing before squaring to Lewis Bowers, who then played in Lacey to shoot home from the edge of the box.
There could have been further goals in the closing minutes, with Lacey hitting a rasping shot just over the bar on 88 minutes, and then deep into stoppage time playing an audacious backheel flick to put Adams through on goal, but he was denied by a save from Sillitoe.
The win takes Leverstock back above local rivals Berkhamsted into 9th place, and on Saturday they have a home game against Colney Heath.